Hawaii’s BiggestGame — Ever

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - December 19, 2007
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QBColt Brennan is sacked early in the third quarterwith Washington leading UH,28-21
QBColt Brennan is sacked early in the third quarterwith Washington leading UH,28-21

How big is the BCS berth to the Sugar Bowl for the state of Hawaii?

Really big.

In fact, there’s no way I can stretch my arms out far enough.

Forget about the millions of dollars that are headed to the UH coffers, and even forget about the 12-and-0 record (hard to, isn’t it?) and the Heisman Trophy celebration (really hard). Forget all that really incredibly important stuff. Now, just focus on what this has done for our state’s morale.

I mean, is there anyone you know - and that’s anyone in your neighborhood or your town or your workplace or even your friends on the Mainland - who isn’t moved by Hawaii’s awesome season? Just look around you, the WAC Championship and Sugar Bowl T-shirts are everywhere! We’re the darlings of the Cinderellas, the top dog of the underdogs, the belles of the ball.

Oh, what a feeling!

And it’s all because a coach turned down a chance at millions of dollars in the National Football League to come to Hawaii - and stay here - to build a program. It’s all because a player turned down his chance for his own millions of dollars in the NFL and decided to stay here and play one more year for the people who helped turn his life around in the islands.

Thank you, June Jones and Colt Brennan!

They made believers even out of the most cynical among us. The coach and the player not only turned the BCS upside down, but also the people who said a school in the middle of the Pacific could never run the table. They said “Believe it!” and then they went out and made it happen.

Four times in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were down. But every time - every single time! - the coaches worked their magic on the sidelines, and the Warriors worked their own bit of magic on the field. You could make a list of heroes, and that list would be so long this column would run out of space: Colt, Jason, Dan, Tyler, Ryan, Davone, Adam, Hercules, Blaze, Gerard, Solomon, Michael ... the list goes on.

By the time that Boise State and Washington and the ESPN cameras rolled into town, there was literally nothing that was going to stop this wave of Warriors. It was a winning wave - and the fans would ride the crest all the way to New Orleans.

Now, fans like Ruth Tamanaha, a retired teacher from Washington Intermediate School and a season ticket holder for more than 50 years, can make their way to the craziness of the Superdome and believe that their beloved Warriors can somehow find a way to beat the powerful Georgia Bulldogs.

Now, Honolulu businessmen like Larry Lee, a man who hasn’t been able to be with all his three brothers on the Mainland for more than 15 years, can gather his brothers together in one spot and meet on Bourbon Street for a party that will last all the way till New Year’s Night.

Now, former UH greats like Garrett Gabriel, who helped guide his alma mater to one its previous big bowl matchups - the Aloha Bowl against Michigan State nearly two decades ago - can hope that his wife comes through on her ultimate Christmas gift idea to send her hubby to the town they call N’awlins in order to be with UH stars of the past, like Michael Carter, Kelly McGill and many, many others.

Now is the time. Now is the time to believe that one more piece of magic can really happen. Now is the time to believe that the stars and moon and sun and planets have all aligned for this one spectacularly great Hawaii moment.

Call it Sugar Bowl Mania. It’s sweetness has absolutely swept the state like a tidal wave.

How sweet it is!

One more night of magic is all it takes and Hawaii’s newest biggest sweetest smile may never ever disappear.

Believe it!

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